My flockFree-range eggs in different colours from hens, bantams, ducks and quail.
I am registered with the Egg Marketing Board as a Free Range Egg Producer and my eggs are all stamped with my producer number - 1UK21754.
My free-range flock is made up from large fowl Barnevelders, Cream Legbars, Leghorns and Salmon Faverolles. These produce a mixture of different coloured eggs - brown, tinted, white and green/blue.
I sell bantam eggs in season and have a small number of duck eggs from Muscovy ducks in season.
My hens live in 'garden shed' sized houses on our seven acre smallholding, with between twenty and thirty birds to a house, depending on it's size. Each house has a large partially roofed pen with their food and water where they dust-bath and scratch. The size of each pen conforms to DEFRA regulations for 'free-range', which I consider an absolute minimum for good practice.
WelfareDuring autumn, winter and early spring our birds are let out of their pens from about 8am to dusk. In late spring and summer we sometimes have to keep them penned to protect them from foxes. If this is the case, then they are let out when we are working close by. Their free-range area includes three acres of sheep pasture, a stable yard, a small cider apple orchard and a large area of PYO raspberries and blackcurrants (out of the fruit season!). They also sometimes clean up the greenhouses between crops.
They get grass cuttings and all the leaves and plants that are pulled out of our commercial greenhouses thrown in to their pens to scratch through.
My flock is not organic, but they are GM free. I keep medication to a minimum, I do not vaccinate my home-bred stock and I do not feed food with antibiotic additives. I believe in keeping food-miles low and I therefore I source my feed from within the UK if I can, rather than feeding pellets with imported soya meal.
Where can you buy?I have had a weekly stall at Minehead Farmers' Market since mid-2011. The market runs from 8.30 AM to 2 PM on The Parade in Minehead. I sell fresh free-range hen and duck eggs.
I can deliver eggs on a Friday to the Minehead area and points between there and Bishop's Lydeard and a supply a number of local guest houses and hotels.
If I have a short-fall of eggs, I sometimes buy from Deane Barton at Langford Budville, Somerset. Their eggs are free-range to a high standard - the hens are kept in small numbers and rotated around grassy pens - and are stamped with their own producer-number.
Due to family illness, my own flock is down from a hundred and fifty to thirty birds at the moment and I am sourcing most of my eggs from Deane Barton.